Tom Coughlin has ‘full confidence’ in Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette
A lot happened between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Leonard Fournette during the 2018 season, and not much of it would be described as productive. However, as the Jaguars released running back Carlos Hyde, it’s obvious that the franchise has put a lot of faith in Fournette, and executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin, confirmed as much.
“With Leonard, a prepared Leonard coming into camp with a mindset that he discussed and we talked about … I have full confidence in him,” Coughlin said, via ESPN.com. “He does have some things he’s got to prove when he comes back about his preparation, but he’s a young, young player, he loves football, had an outstanding year, had a very disappointing year, and I think he wants to — we want him to be a great player and I think he’s in the same mindset.”
Over the course of last season, Fournette missed six games with a hamstring injury, one game with a foot injury and was suspended by the team for another game after leaving the bench to join a scuffle during a game against the Bills. The LSU alum averaged only 3.3 yards per carry and a year after losing to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, the Jags were 5-11 and in last place in their division.
Coughlin’s confidence in the running back may be a surprise to many, the former New York Giants head coach had ripped Fournette in December. He and teammate T.J. Yeldon were seen on the bench not appearing to pay attention to the game against their division rivals, the Houston Texans.
“I am disappointed in the behavior today from T.J. Yeldon and Leonard Fournette. They were disrespectful, selfish and their behavior was unbecoming that of a professional football player,” Coughlin said.
Jacksonville hopes that last season will be no more than a blip on their radar and that they’ll get right back to winning. The team finally cut ties with quarterback Blake Bortles and has hitched their wagon to Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.